1 to 1 and the Digital History

Samsung Series 3 Chromebook.JPG

Google Chromebook

Technology has begun to find a place in today’s schools.  Computers, once reserved for the library or digital lab, are now a staple of the modern students arsenal.  Many schools have begun experimenting with what is known as a 1 to 1 program.  Such a program—in theory—means that every student in the school is paired with a digital device.  For example, at Roosevelt High School in Portland, OR, many of the students are given iPads to use for their studies.  Those who aren’t given iPads have access to Chromebooks that are located in the classroom.  These devices allow the students to access multiple web-based resources during a lesson.

There are certain advantages to a 1 to 1 style classroom.  One of the advantages is that the students now have access to exponentially larger amounts of information with which to learn from.  It also means that tools such as iBook and Google Docs can be used with greater ease.   Google Docs is extremely useful for when students write essays.  Teachers can not only give corrections but give immediate encouragement to students as they are working.

There are some dangers to using a 1 to 1 classroom.  Standards have to be set concerning student behavior while using their devices.  For example websites such as YouTube and Facebook might be made off limit to students.  Maybe students will not be allowed to use earphones in order to ensure that their auditory attention remains with the teacher.  This can also be assisted by setting rules as to when the devices can be used.   A reliable internet service will also be required.  Some schools may have all the hardware, but because of the constraints of their internet , are limited to what they can do in the classroom.

Tablets, Phones, Laptops, Oh My

Prompt:  Assume you have your first full time teaching job and the principal tells you that you’ve been selected to pilot the  “1 to 1 Project.”  What are your thoughts about the opportunities and challenges that  presents?

Computer used at a steel mill in 1962.
UNIVAC computer used in 1960 Census

In the ever expanding world of technology it is no surprise that students and teachers are coming to school with electronic devices that just 10 years ago would have seemed impossible to carry in a backpack or pocket. This ever evolving world of technology is pushing the world of education towards a direction suitable for the next generations of children; this new direction is, of course, a one to one classroom where every student will be equipped with a tablet or laptop, and be able to use that device for learning. In some schools this has already been adopted by some teachers or even whole buildings. In these school the teachers are allowing the students to use technology in order to develop a more complex understanding of the material out there. No longer are students required to know the date of an event, when one can simply Google the answer, and get every piece of information about the topic in front of them in real time.

In my experience, seeing the effects of a one to one classroom, mostly in Language Arts, the students are performing at a higher level of task completion. What I can see is that the one to one doesn’t mean the students are developing a more complex critical thinking ability, but instead they are producing projects that a higher level of overall class completion. Students are already advocating for using technology in every assignment given to them. With programs like Google Classroom teachers are able to post, assign, lecture, keep parents informed, and have an easier time keeping track of students work. This also leads to increased feedback responses from teachers. The issue is cost: who is going to pay for all the computers, tablets, or laptops for each student to have?

In my ideal world of teaching I would like to run a one to one classroom with each student having a personal device such as a Macbook, Chromebook or tablet. In the field of Social Studies it has always been about memorizing information and regurgitating facts. I ask myself why? With WiFi, a student can just Google any answer on their phone. I would rather have the students use information found online to develop a greater understanding of the material and researching methods in order to produce a project that reflects the material and the student’s interest. It would also make the role of my teaching a lot easier. I could post lectures, PowerPoint, notes, assignment, etc… to a class website. This would allow students easy, consistent access to anything that they missed or need a refresher on.

In the world today, I do not see any reason for students not to have access to computers in education. It is future of the next generation and beyond. The more access we giving them now, and skills we teach them, the better off they will be in life.

US Census Bureau. (1960) Image. UNIVAC computer used in 1960 census. Website Retrieved October 25, 2015. Link

Class 7: The 1 to 1 Classroom

France_in_XXI_Century._SchoolWe’re using the iPad cart today to explore the challenges and opportunities of the 1 to 1 classroom.

Our class will open with a bit of “speed dating” of our ideas for the Document-Based Lesson Assignment. Students will form two lines and have 2 minutes to pitch their DBL design idea to each other and share some feedback. Then one line will shift and we repeated the pitch exchange. In all students will pitch their idea three times.

The goal of this phase is to gather feedback from peers regarding the following:

  • You have an interesting generative / essential question worth answering.
  • Your initial appraisal indicates there are suitable documents available.
  • You have an idea for how students will be asked interpret your documents.

Then we’ll break out the iPads to get idea what can be done with iBooks Author. We’ll look at three iBooks to develop some insights into what we might do with our iBook project.

Then we will have some time to explore three iPad apps that would have use in the social studies classroom.

Padlet – a simple tool for curating and collaboration. Tutorial
Haiku Deck – presentation software.  How to video (made by 6th graders – nice)
SimpleMind – a very basic mind mapping app. How to video

Three assignments:

1. If you don’t already have a Twitter account, create one. On 10/26 we’ll take part in a Twitter chat. BTW – you should be thinking about your digital profile. Your future employers will Google you.

2. DBL proposal – Submit a preliminary idea for your DBL design project for Peter’s feedback. It should be posted to a shared Google folder. It can be in the form of a Google doc that addresses. Proposal due 10/19. Here’s a short video on using shared Google folder

  1. Where will you use it?  Grade, course, etc
  2. An interesting generative / essential question worth answering.
  3. 3 -5 suitable documents (include links).
  4. A brief explanation of “what are the kids going to do?”

Note: This is not intended to be a fully developed lesson. Just an idea of where you intend to go.

C. Blog post – Assume you have your first full time teaching job and the principal tells you that you’ve been selected to pilot the  “1 to 1 Project.” (1 to 1: where ever student is provided with a device. Could be iPads, laptops Chromebooks, or other device) Blog post due 10/25

What are your thoughts about the opportunities and challenges that 1 to 1 (with a wifi network) presents?
Note: This is not a research project on ed tech devices or 1 to 1 classrooms – it’s a writing prompt.

Here’s a few questions to get you thinking. No you don’t have to answer them all.

  • How would you respond to teaching in a 1 to 1 environment – feel empowered or scared?
  • Would the student use them for consuming information or creating?
  • Would the devices be an asset to learning or distraction for students?
  • If you were able to “flip” some content, what would you do with the class time?
  • How would the devices impact the roles of teacher and student?

Have fun with it – Give me 2-3 paragraphs, a catchy title and interesting public domain image. Might as well get thinking about the prospects, because that’s where this is all heading. Remember you can search for contemporary or historical public domain images using this advanced Google image search strategy.


Image credit: A 19th-Century Vision of the Year 2000

A series of futuristic pictures by Jean-Marc Côté and other artists issued in France in 1899, 1900, 1901 and 1910. Originally in the form of paper cards enclosed in cigarette/cigar boxes and, later, as postcards, the images depicted the world as it was imagined to be like in the then distant year of 2000. There are at least 87 cards known that were authored by various French artists, the first series being produced for the 1900 World Exhibition in Paris. More information and cards here.